Learn to BAKE! at Zingerman’s

By: Toni Cunningham | December 9, 2012

My obsession with cooking and baking began in my preteen years, and to this day, I’d still rather watch the Food Network than just about anything.

Whether you’re an expert baker rivaling Duff Goldman or you’ve never even used a rolling pin, Zingerman’s Bakehouse BAKE! classes will surely teach you a thing or two you can’t find in a cookbook.

BAKE!, 3711 Plaza Dr., Ann Arbor, is designed for all skill levels, and instructors Alejandro Ramon and Nikki Lohmann teach participants how to make delectable breads and pastries from scratch.

“We have 50 or 60 different types of classes,” Sara Richardson, marketing manager for Zingerman’s Bakehouse, said. “All of the classes are hands on, and we have a maximum of 12 students per one instructor for each class.”

The classes are geared towards home bakers, so each class involves a discussion where the instructors recommend specific ingredients like Guernsey Farms Dairy and King Arthur Flour.

While the tasty topics may differ, each class works the same way—an instructor demonstrates a technique, then the “students” try out the recipe. It’s baked during the class and ready to take home after, so don’t be surprised when your friends flock to sample the treats once you get home.

“We make something that we’re really known for (in class), like our brownies or our sourdough bread. There’s also some things we make in the classes that we don’t even sell in-store,” Richardson said, noting that French macaroons are one such item.

BAKE! classes are designed to be accessible to anyone, so even if you’ve never thrown together a cake mix from a box, you can easily learn the ropes. The hands on, DIY style of BAKE! classes allow you to get your hands dirty and really learn a skill—which is a huge plus in my book.

If you’re a little timid, Richardson recommends the Fabulous French Baguette class or Baking Pies A Plenty class for beginners.

“We have a lot of repeat customers, so they’ll email us or send us photos of what they made at home. Sometimes if they get stuck and they have a question, they send us an email or give us a call,” Richardson said.

Upcoming BAKE! classes include Bakin’ with Bacon, Coffee Cake Craft, and Cinn-ful Cinnamon Rolls. I’m salivating at the mere thought of all three.

The majority of classes cost $100-$125 for a four hour session, while some run only three hours for $75. The holidays are a big time for baking, so why not dust off your skills and learn how to make Buche de Noel before the end of December?

BAKE! classes are very popular and sell out quickly, so take a look at the calendar and sign up for a spot while you still can! Also, feel free to share whatever scrumptious creation you bake with yours truly.